Glossary of Terms
Jewellery Information 05.
Alloy - This is a mixture of 2 or more
metals, for example 9ct gold is an alloy because the gold has been
mixed with other metals to enhance its strength and durability.
Amber - This is the fossilized and
hardened resin of trees. Mostly golden yellow through to golden
orange in colour, it often contains tiny air-bubbles or other
particles of foreign matter trapped when it was formed.
Amethyst - This gemstone is found
in various shades of purple and is the most valued member of
the quartz family of stones. It is the birthstone for February
and is said to bring luck and to guard against drunkenness.
Aquamarine - This gemstone is found
in various shades of blue, from light blue through to blue-green.
It is this sea water colour that gives it its name. It is the
birthstone for March.
Baguette Cut - A rectangular style
of step cut used for gemstones.
Bail - The attachment at the top
of a pendant which allows it to hang from a chain. Also known
as a pendant runner.
Band - A type of ring which is an
equal width all the way round. They are traditionally used for
Bangle - A rigid bracelet that is
slipped over the hand or clasped in place on the wrist. They
can be plain precious metal, be decorated with patterns, or be
set with gemstones. Click
here to see our range of bangles.
Bar Setting - In this style of setting
precious metal bars hold the gemstone in place by the girdle.
Bar and Ring Clasp - This type of
clasp has a bar which is inserted into a large ring on the other
end of the necklace or bracelet. It is also known as a "toggle
Bevelled - The name given to an
angled section on the surface of an item of jewellery, such as
Bezel - Used to mount settings to
Bezel Setting - A precious metal
disc used to encircle the girdle of a gemstone, or the edge of
a coin, holding it in place securely on the ring.
Birthstone - Each month has a particular
gemstone associated with it. Each stone is thought to be lucky
for the person born in that month. The birthstones are:
January = Garnet
February = Amethyst
March = Aquamarine
April = Diamond
May = Emerald
June = Pearl
July = Ruby
August = Peridot
September = Sapphire
October = Opal
November = Topaz
December = Turquoise
Body Jewellery - Conventionally
used to describe jewellery for pierced parts of the body other
than the ears as well as new fashionable items such as toe rings.
Bolt Ring - A circular clasp frequently
used for fastening necklaces and bracelets.
Box Clasp - A hollow, box-like clasp
with a groove into which a metal tongue is inserted and clicked
securely into place.
Box Setting - In this setting the
gemstone is enclosed in a "box", the edges of which are pressed
down onto the girdle of the stone to hold it securely in place.
The surface of the setting is smooth and less likely to be caught
Bracelet - An item of jewellery
worn on the wrist. They can be of plain precious metal, decorated
designs of precious metal or set with stones. Common types of
bracelets are: chain-link bracelets such as curb and figaro;
rope bracelets; herringbone bracelets; charm bracelets; gate
bracelets; fancy-link bracelets; and tennis bracelets. Click
here to see our range of bracelets.
Brilliance - This is the sparkle
that is seen in a gemstone when it is held up to the light. It
is caused by the reflection of "white"light back from a gemstone,
both from its surface and from within. The more "white" light
reflected back, the greater the brilliance. The brilliance of
a gemstone is influenced by its cut, its proportions, its polish,
its transparency and its physical and chemical make-up.
Brilliant Cut - This round cut is
the most common and popular style of cut for diamonds, and many
other gemstones. This is because it has been designed with 57
carefully proportioned facets to maximise the amount of light
reflected and refracted by the gemstone. Below is a diagram showing
a brilliant cut diamond and its facets:
Brooch - A brooch (also called a
pin) is an ornament that can be pinned to a garment. Click
here to see our range of brooches.
Brushed Finish - A textured finish
on jewellery, where a series of tiny parallel lines are scratched
on the surface of the metal.
Butterflies - Also known as a scroll,
these attachments slide onto the post of an earring to hold it
securely in place in the earlobe.
Cabachon - A smooth and dome shaped
Carat - This is often abbreviated
as "ct" and has two separate meanings:
- It is the unit of weight measurement for gemstones, whereby
one carat is equal to one-fifth of a gram. A carat is divided
into points, and there are 100 points in a carat, so 25 points
is equal to ¼ carat. It is one of the four characteristics
that influence the value of a diamond.
- It is the term used to describe the purity of gold alloy
used in an item of jewellery. With pure gold being rated as
24 carat, the most common standards of gold alloy used in jewellery
- 9ct gold, which 37.5% pure gold (or 375 parts pure
gold and 625 parts other metals).
- 14ct gold, which is 58.5% pure gold (or 585 parts pure
gold to 415 parts other metals).
- 18ct gold, which is 75% pure gold (or 750 parts pure
gold and 250 parts other metals).
- 22ct gold, which is 91.6% pure gold (or 916 parts
pure gold and 84 parts other metals).
The carat of gold used in an item of jewellery is illustrated
in its hallmark.
Chain - A length of connected loops,
links, rings or beads used to create a necklet or bracelet. There
are various types of chain, with the most popular being: the
curb link, flat round or oval links; the belcher link, round
or oval links that don't lie flat; the figaro link, a series
of alternating short and long links in different combinations;
the box link, solid square links; the snake chain; and the rope
Chandelier Earring -
A style of earring that hangs down from the ear lobe and dangles
like a chandelier. Click
here to see our range of chandelier earrings.
Channel Setting - This is where
the stones are held side-by-side between two strips of precious
metal. Channel set gemstones sit flush with the mounting so are
less likely to be caught and snagged.
Charm Bracelet - A bracelet which
has, or can have, small charms attached to its links. Click
here to see our range of charm bracelets.
Chevron Setting - In this style
of setting, "V" shaped claws hold the gemstone in place. It is
used at the points of marquise cut gemstones.
Clarity - One of the four characteristics
that influence the value of a diamond. A diamond's clarity is
determined by the degree to which it is free from naturally occurring
inclusions, or "nature's fingerprints". The number, type, colour,
size and position of these "birthmarks" can affect the value.
However, many of these inclusions are actually invisible to the
naked eye and require magnification under an eyeglass before
they can be seen. The fewer the inclusions, the rarer the diamond
and thus the more valuable it is.
Clasp - Any type of attachment that
is used to join one end of a piece of jewellery to the other,
usually bracelets and necklets. The most commonly used clasps
in jewellery are: the bolt ring; the lobster claw; the box clasp;
the bar and ring clasp; and the fold-over clasp.
Claw - A precious metal prong used
to hold a gemstone in place.
Claw Setting - A series of precious
metal prongs, or "claws", designed to hold a gemstone securely
in place whilst allowing maximum light to reach it.
Clip-on Earrings - Earrings that
are designed for people who do not have their ears pierced. The
earring is held in-place on the lobe by a clip.
Cluster Ring - A ring which has
a collection, or "cluster", of gemstones arranged in a decorative
design. Common cluster patterns are the "daisy cluster", which
resembles the flower of a daisy, and the "boat cluster", which
resembles the shape of a boat as viewed from above.
Creole Earring - A hoop style earring,
often elongated, for pierced ears. They are frequently highly
decorated and have a secure bar and clip fastener
Cross - A pendant in the shape of
a cross. It can be plain or patterned metal, or set with gemstones.
Crown - The upper part of a faceted
gemstone above the girdle.
Cubic Zirconia - A hard and relatively
inexpensive stone, created in laboratories and often cut to resemble
a diamond. Although most commonly colourless, it is available
in different colours such as pink and purple.
Cut - One of the four characteristics
that determine the value of a diamond, and the only one that
can actually be influenced by man.
Diamanté - Diamanté stones
(or Rhinestones) are highly reflective glass made to imitate
gemstones. The originals were colourless quartz obtained from
the River Rhine, which were cut in an attempt to resemble diamonds.
The finest diamanté today is made of highly reflective
lead glass, which is facetted and polished. Click here
to see our range of diamante jewellery
Diamond - The most valuable and
treasured of all gemstones. Its name refers to its hardness,
nothing is comparable so it is virtually imperishable, hence
the saying "a diamond is forever". Diamonds are the birthstone
for April. Only about 20% of all diamonds mined are good enough
to be used in jewellery. A diamond's value is directly linked
to its quality which is measured by 4 characteristics, its: carat;
cut; colour; and clarity (known as "the four C's").
Diamond Cut - A pattern of angled
cuts on the surface of an item of jewellery which gives it a
Dress Ring - A ring which is worn
purely as a fashion accessory. It can be either plain or set
Drop Earring - A style of earring
that hangs below the earlobe. Click
here to see our range of drop earrings.
Earring - An item of jewellery worn
in, or on, the earlobe. Nowadays most earrings are for pierced
ears, however there are still clip-on and screw-back earrings
for those who do not have pierced ears. Earrings come in a variety
of different styles, including: studs; drop earrings; chandelier
earrings; stud earrings; hoops earrings; creoles; and wedding
here to see our range of earrings.
Embossing - A
stamping technique in which a pattern (for example a scroll pattern
similar to an engraved effect) is pressed onto a plain area of
metal to leave the pattern in relief, i.e. standing proud above
the plain background rather than cut in as in the case of engraving.
Emerald - A green gemstone and the
most precious of the beryl group. The emerald cut is the most
popular, and most practical, cut for showing off the beauty of
this gemstone, hence the name. The emerald is the birthstone
Emerald Cut - A type of cut, octagonal
in shape, with rows of step cuts along the edges and at the corners.
It is most frequently used on emeralds and diamonds.
Enamel - An opaque, glassy material
which is attached to the metal on an item of jewellery to give
Engagement Ring - A gemstone set
ring used to symbolise a strong commitment of love. Diamonds
are the most popular choice of gemstone because of their value
and traditional symbolism of lasting love, with the solitaire
design being the favourite choice. An engagement ring is traditionally
worn on the third finger of the left hand, because it was believed
that the vein from this finger ran directly to the heart.
Engraving - Commonly
used for decoration and inscriptions on trophies or presentation
plaques. The recipient's name, date and further details
are engraved onto the surface. The technique can be used
to create intricate design motifs as well as inscriptions.
Eternity Ring - A gemstone set ring
often used to show a long-term commitment of love. Although often
bought as an accompaniment to the wedding and engagement ring,
it can be worn on its own as a dress piece. Eternity rings come
in several distinctive designs:
1) The full eternity, which has gemstones set around the entire
2) The half eternity, which has stone set on the upper half of the ring.
3) The wishbone, which has the stones arranged in a wishbone shape on the upper
half of the ring.
4) The shaped eternity, which is specially designed to comfortably fit next
to a solitaire ring.
5) The crossover eternity, which has two thin bands which cross over each other.
Usually only one of the bands is stone set.
Facet - One of the flat, polished
surfaces on a cut gemstone. They are cut to help enhance the
gemstone's reflection of light so that its brilliance and beauty
Faceting - The cutting and polishing
of the surface of a gemstone into a distinctive, and specifically
proportioned, pattern of flat panels, or " facets". This is done
with the intention of increasing the stone's reflection of light
and its brilliance.
Fancy Cut - These are cuts of gemstones
which are unusual and decorative, for example the heart cut and
the half-moon cut.
Faux - A
term meaning imitation. For example, "faux pearls" is
often used to describe simulated pearls.
Filigree - The fine lace-like decoration
sometimes found on jewellery. It is created from delicately arranged
and intertwined precious metal wires.
French Clip - An
alternative to a pierced earring, it incorporates a spring clip
(tension on the ear is provided by a spring-loaded pad) and a
pad-tipped screw, which adjusts the tension of the spring clip.
Four C's - The factors that influence
the value of a diamond. They are: the carat; the clarity; the
colour; and the cut.
Garnet - Garnets are most frequently
reddish brown in colour, butthe garnet is actually part of a
family of different coloured minerals with the same chemical
make-up. Garnets can be found in various colours including: blood
red; orange; dark red; pinkish red; and green. Garnet is the
birthstone for January.
Gate Bracelet - A bracelet made
up of a series of interlinked barred sections called "gates".
The "gates" can be made up of any number of bars, but the more
bars, the wider the bracelet. Traditionally the gate bracelet
is fastened by a heart-shaped padlock which has a safety chain
running through it.
Gemstone - A natural gemstone is
a mineral or an organic object which can be cut, polished or
otherwise treated for use in jewellery. A precious gemstone,
such as diamond, ruby, sapphire and emerald, possess brilliance,
beauty, durability and rarity. A semi-precious gemstone, such
as quartz and turquoise, possess one or two of these qualities.
Girdle - The narrow band around
the widest part of a polished or faceted gemstone. It separates
the crown and the pavilion.
Gold - A precious metal, yellow
in its natural state but its exact colour depends on the amount
and type of impurities. It is a very soft and malleable metal
and when used in jewellery it is alloyed with other metals to
increase its hardness and durability. It is also alloyed into
different colours, most notably white gold. The gold used in
jewellery is defined by the proportion of pure gold to other
metals and is expressed in terms of its carat.
Hallmark - This is the authorised
stamp from an assay office which is found on items of gold, silver
and platinum. The hallmark indicates the authenticity and standard
of the precious metal and is awarded after independent tests
by the official assay offices at London, Birmingham, Sheffield
Hardness - This is an important
quality of a gemstone because it influences how hard-wearing
it is. A gemstone's hardness is measured by how resistant it
is to being scratched. It is measured using the Mohs scale of
hardness, whereby one substance is harder than another if it
can scratch it.
Hoop Earring - A circular- shaped
earring made from precious metal wire or tubing. Click
here to see our range of hoop earrings.
Jump Ring - A circular ring, with
a split in it, used for joining two other links or rings before
being soldered or pressed shut. Commonly used on the end of a
necklet or bracelet for the clasp to clip onto.
Lariat Necklace - An open-ended
necklace with no clasp. It is fastened by threading one end of
the necklace through the other. Lariat necklaces frequently have
beads or tassels at the end.
Links - The series of loops that
make up a chain or bracelet. They can be of different designs,
both plain and fancy.
Lobster Claw Clasp - A clasp, resembling
the claw of a lobster, which has a spring-loaded arm.
Locket - A pendant, usually heart-shaped
or oval, which can be opened to store photos or other trinkets.
Lustre - The shine or look of a
gemstone due to the reflection of #light off its surface.
Master Cut - A unique cut produced
exclusively for members of the Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ).It
features 16 more facets than the traditional brilliant cut.
Marquise Cut - An oval cut with
tapered, pointed ends.
Matte Finish - A frosted, non-shiny
surface effect on jewellery.
Mother-of-Pearl - The inside part
of a mollusc's shell which has an iridescent quality due to a
coating of nacre.
Nacre - A substance secreted by
a mollusc to coat the inside of its shell and during the formation
of pearls. It has an iridescent quality which makes pearls and
mother-of-pearl so lustrous.
Natural - Something which is found
in nature rather than being artificial or man-made.
Necklace - A
piece of jewellery worn around the neck. Click
here to see our range of necklaces.
Necklace Set - A
necklace with matching earrings. Click
here to see our range of necklace sets.
Necklet - A short necklace or chain
- less than 18 inches in length.
Opal - A gemstone made of hardened
silica gel. It is the birthstone for October. There are two types
1) Precious Opals - these opals
have a rainbow-like iridescence which changes as the stone is
angled under light, known as opalescence. There are two groups
of precious opals. The first are white, or milky, opals which
are the most commonly used for jewellery. The second are black
opals, whose basic colour is dark grey, dark blue, dark green
or grey-black.. Dark black opals are very rare.
2) Fire Opals - these are named after their orange
colour. They do not opalesce and are best when clear and transparent.
Organic - A material made by or
derived from a living organism.
Pavilion - The lower portion of
a faceted gemstone below the girdle.Pave Setting - This is where
the surface of an item of jewellery is encrusted with gemstones,
typically diamonds. It produces a pavement of stones, hence the
Pear Cut - A teardrop shaped cut,
commonly used for pendants and drop earrings.
Pearl - These are organic gemstones
which grow within molluscs, particularly oysters and mussels.
The most valuable pearls are large, symmetrical, naturally produced
and have a shimmering iridescence. Pearls vary in colour from
white, through white with a hint of colour (usually pink), to
brown, grey and even black, depending upon the mollusc and the
water in which it lives. There are several types of pearl:
1) Natural Pearls - occurring naturally
with no human interference.
2) Cultured Pearls - where a piece of mother-of
pearl or a small bead is inserted artificially into a mollusc to start the
process in a controlled way. Most pearls found in jewellery today are cultured
3) Freshwater Pearls - produced by molluscs living
in rivers and lakes. They are quite irregular and elongated in shape. They
are popular in jewellery because of their shape and excellent value.
4) Seed Pearls - tiny pearls used in smaller items
5) Blister pearls - this is where the pearl is
attached to the inside of the shell.
Pearl is the birthstone for June.
Pendant - A hanging ornament on
a chain. Click
here to see our range of pendants.
Pendant Sets - A pendant with matching
here to see our range of pendant sets.
Peridot - A gemstone with a distinctive
green colouring. It is the birthstone for August.
Pierced Earrings - Earrings designed
for wear in ears that are pierced. A post or wire is passed through
Platinum - Of the three precious
metals, platinum is the rarest and most valuable. It is silvery-grey
to white in colour and, unlike silver, it does not tarnish when
exposed to the atmosphere. It is slightly more dense than gold
and about twice as dense as silver. To make it easier to use,
the platinum used in jewellery is an alloy containing 95% pure
platinum and 5% other metals (or 950 parts platinum to 50 parts
Point - A point is another way of
measuring a diamond's weight. A carat is equivalent to 100 points,
therefore half a carat is 50 points, a quarter carat is 25 points
and so on.
Polished - A smooth and glossy effect
on the surface of a gemstone or precious metal to remove flaws
and increase its shine.
Post - The pin-like part of an earring
that passes through the pierced earlobe. It is usually held in
place by a butterfly.
Precious metals - Also known as "noble
metals", these are silver, gold and platinum.
Princess Cut - A square cut gemstone.
Relatively new in design and highly popular.
Reflection - When light bounces
back off the surface of something, such as a diamond. When combined
with refraction it produces a diamond's fire.
Refraction - When light is bent
as it enters a gemstone, such as a diamond. A stone's cut and
clarity can influence its refraction. When combined with reflection
it produces a diamond's fire.
Rhodium - A white metallic element.
A rhodium finish is usually applied to white gold to give it
greater and brighter whiteness.
Ring - A piece of jewellery worn
on the fingers or, sometimes, toes. They are used for dress and
fashion purposes or to show a commitment of love. Some common
gemstone set rings are: solitaire rings; eternity rings; cluster
rings; two-stone rings; trilogy rings; and pave rings. Click
here to see our range rings.
Rope Chain - A style of chain where
the links are intertwined to make it look like a length of rope.
Rose Gold - An alloy of gold and
copper, which gives the gold a reddish colour.
Ruby - A gemstone of the corundum
family, which can be any shade of red from pinkish to almost
brownish. Along with sapphire, it is the hardest gemstone after
diamond. It is the birthstone for July and has a very regal history.
Safety Chain - A fine chain attached
to a necklet, bracelet or brooch which provides extra security
in case the catch opens.
Sapphire - A gemstone from the same
corundum mineral family as the ruby, and the birthstone for September.
In fact, any gem quality corundum stone that is not red is a
sapphire. Although traditionally blue in colour, sapphires can
also be colourless or vary in colour from yellow, through green,
Satin Finish - A textured finish
on the surface of precious metal which has a soft lustre rather
than a shine. It can be produced by brushing, sandblasting or
chemically altering the surface of
Scintillation - The mirror-like
reflections of light from the facets of a cut gemstone as it
is turned in the light.
Screw-back - A vice-like clamp that
is used to hold some non-pierced earrings in place by means of
a screw that can be tightened against the earlobe. the precious
Setting - The method of securing
a gemstone in a piece of jewellery. There are a variety of different
settings used to mount gemstones in pieces of jewellery, some
common ones are: the claw setting; the bezel setting; the channel
setting; the pave setting; the bar setting; the chevron setting;
the Tiffany setting; the box setting; and the illusion setting.
Below are examples of some of these settings:
Shank - The round body of a ring
that encircles the finger.
Shoulders - The upper part of a
ring that joins the shank and the setting. They are often decorated,
set with gemstones, or have a v-like split in them.
Silver - A precious metal with a
characteristic silver / white colour and a metallic lustre. It
is alloyed with other metals to form "Sterling Silver" when used
in jewellery because it is quite soft.
Simulated - Artificial gemstones
used to "simulate" natural gemstones. Gemstones in order to make
more affordable jewellery, for example simulated pearls.
Snake Chain - A chain composed of
a series of small linked cups.
Solitaire - A single gemstone, usually
a diamond, featured in a simple setting.
Step-Cut - A cut in which the facets are parallel to the girdle
of the gemstone.
Sterling Silver - A high quality
alloy of silver used in jewellery. It contains a minimum of 92.5%
pure silver (or 925 parts pure silver to 75 parts other metals).
Synthetic - A manmade gemstone that
has the same physical, opticalGemstone and chemical properties
of its natural counterpart. They are often very bright in colour
and very clear.
Table - The top horizontal facet
on the crown of a faceted gemstone.
Tennis Bracelet - A flexible chain-like
made up of evenly matched gemstones.
Tiffany Setting - A round six-pronged
claw setting. The claws are long and slender and flare out from
the base of the setting. It is a style of setting made popular
by the jewellers Tiffany & Co of New York.
Topaz - Birthstone of the month
for November, and can be found in a range of colours including
yellow, pink, green and blue, as well as being colourless. Colourless
topaz can be easily heat-treated and irradiated into a range
of blues. Blue topaz and sky-blue topaz are the most popular
colours found in jewellery, and are particularly attractive when
set in white gold.
Trilogy Ring - A ring set with three
gemstones, either in a row or on a twist. The stones represent
the trilogy of the past, the present and the future.
Turquoise - Birthstone of the month
for December. This semi-precious gemstone has an intense colour
varying from sky-blue to green.
Two-Stone Ring - A ring with two
individual gemstones set in it, usually on a twist,
Wedding Ring - A band of precious
metal, usually gold or platinum, used to symbolise the union
of two people in marriage. The band can be plain, patterned,
two coloured gold, diamond set, have bevelled edges and even
shaped to fit comfortably with an engagement ring. There are
several profiles of wedding ring available:
1) D-Shaped - This has a curved
outer surface of the ring and a flat inner surface.
2) Court - This has curved outer surface and a
curved inner surface. These are much thicker and heavier than their D-shaped
counterparts, and much more comfortable to wear because the inside of the ring
is not flat against the finger and so causes less irritation.
3) Flat - This has a flat outer and inner surface.
White Gold - An alloy of yellow
gold that has been bleached using silver, zinc or platinum as
a whitening agent. It is rhodium-plated to give extra whiteness